However, this week with temps hovering around 100 degrees, I've been craving dead-of-winter types of meals. Two days ago I actually made my Cheesy Potato Soup recipe ... and it soooo hit the spot! My poor hubby came home from working all day in the blistering heat to simmering soup for dinner. Tonight was more of the same in the form of a dish I typically only make on those cold winter days when we just crave something to warm us from the inside-out.
I just posted "Chocolate Zucchini Bread," a recipe from my grandmother and a favorite from my childhood. At the beginning of that post, I discussed some of the dishes she made when I was younger that top my list of what she was known for. I left one out. It's this recipe. "Ham and Beans," as we all called it. And, it was never, ever served without a huge pan of cornbread.
When I would go and stay with her during my childhood, she'd make it and we've have it for dinner that night. Then, we'd eat on the leftovers for days.
My grandmother always pointed out how economical this dish is. Even at today's food prices, you're looking at around five dollars worth of ingredients. It isn't particularly a pretty, colorful dish, but it satisfies like no other!
And, call me "odd," but I like this with a good squeeze of ketchup on top. (Gasp!) I'm told that it's a disgrace to Southerners to eat this dish with ketchup. Sorry. Forgive me.
This is a pretty simple, basic and true-to-our-roots dish. Even if you don't try it now during the summer, bookmark it and come back to it oh, say in the middle of January! But, if you do decide to try it during the hotter months, you can put your mind at ease that it's all cooked in a slow cooker. So, actually, you get away with not heating up the oven or stove! Score!
1 bag of dried pinto, northern or navy beans, soaked overnight and drained
2 smoked ham hocks
1 onion, chopped
1 dried bay leaf, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place beans, ham hocks, onion, salt and pepper and bay leaf (if using) in slow cooker. Cover with water. Cook on high for 6 - 8 hours.
I often stir in a few splashes of white vinegar at the end if I find the beans need a little zip!
Serve with your favorite cornbread recipe.
Note: It does not matter if you buy the small or the large bag of dried beans. Use whatever you prefer.